We would need to be notified that you have passed away and that your pet needs to come to Battersea. To ensure this happens, we strongly advise that, as well as including instructions your Will, you tell as many people as possible of your wish for your pets to be taken to Battersea in the event of your death – family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, social worker, landlord, etc. You should also make sure that your Will and any other relevant paperwork is easy to access. If possible, it’s a good idea to appoint a temporary guardian for your pet who knows your wishes and how they should be carried out, and would be happy to care for your pet whilst arrangements are made. This will ensure a smooth transition for your pet to Battersea.
Forever Loved Scheme FAQs
An FAQ to answer any questions you might have about the Forever Loved Scheme.
We recommend that you include instructions in your Will for your pet to come to Battersea to ensure that your Executor is fully aware of your wishes. We would suggest the following wording:
Should it be required, we are able to collect dogs and cats from homes within London and the South East. If you think that you will need this service, please get in touch so we can note this on your record. Please also be aware that whilst we will always try to prioritise Forever Loved pets, we may not be able to collect them immediately. Dependent on the urgency of the situation, this may take up to 7 days.
Where possible, we would ask that you make a plan with your next of kin or Executor to arrange for your pet’s transfer to one of our three centres (London, Old Windsor and Brands Hatch), particularly if you are not local to us.
If you are concerned that there is no one who would be able to do this and you live outside our collection area, please give us a call for advice, and to discuss Battersea acting as the Executor of your Will.
If you have a preference regarding which centre you would like your pet to go to, please include this in your instructions to your next of kin or Executor. Please be aware that under some circumstances, our team may decide to move an animal between centres, either to improve their wellbeing or to speed up their rehoming process.
As well as being a legal requirement for all dogs in England Scotland and Wales, a microchip is also the easiest way for us to identify your dog or cat on our system should they need to come to Battersea. We offer free microchipping at our three centres to all dogs and cats – please call 020 7627 9245. Alternatively, it can easily be done at your local vet.
We operate a non-selective intake policy, however Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 means that we cannot rehome any of the four banned breeds – Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, or Fila Braziliero.
We don’t run our centres at full capacity (allowing us to take in animals at short notice) so it is likely that we would be able to find a space for your pet very quickly.
As part of our normal admissions procedure we don’t usually take more than four animals from one home at any one time, mainly because of our infection control measures, so whilst multiple pets would be welcome at Battersea, their admission may need to be staggered.
At Battersea, we always put the wellbeing of our animals first, and where we can see that a pair or group of animals are clearly bonded and it is in their best interest to be kept together, we will certainly look to rehome them together. Occasionally, animals who have been bonded in a home may behave differently towards each other in a kennel or cattery environment due to stress and the change of environment. In these instances, we may separate a pair or group, as doing so would decrease their stress levels and increase their welfare, bettering their chances of quickly finding a new home.
We understand that you may have concerns about how your pet’s long term health, and it’s a lovely idea to be able to continue to care for your pet after your death. We would advise against setting up a Trust Fund as, once your pet has left Battersea, there is no way for us to make sure that this money is being used as it should be. Our recommendation would be to appoint Battersea as the Executor of your Will and leave the financial provision with us to manage. Your pet’s new family would be informed of this provision after rehoming and told to send any relevant invoices directly to us to cover the costs. We would continue to do this for the lifetime of your pet.
Every dog and cat that comes into the Home is treated with compassion and dignity and is assessed by a member of our Veterinary team and highly-experienced and trained behavioural assessors. Under some circumstances, our veterinary team may determine that an animal’s medical condition cannot be treated or managed, and is having a negative effect on their wellbeing. In these cases, it may be decided that the kindest action is to put that animal to sleep.
If your pet has a medical condition that can be managed and our veterinary team are happy that they still have a good quality of life, then they can be rehomed. We would make sure that their new family are aware of this and are financially able to cover any costs involved. If you have any concerns about this, please do get in touch. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide care for dogs with diabetes or epilepsy due to the round the clock specialist care required to manage these conditions.
We welcome dogs and cats of all ages and many people come to us looking to rehome one of our more senior residents. We know these animals still have much life and love to give so we would work hard to find your pet the perfect home to enjoy their retirement years.
Some animals may come to Battersea with behavioural problems, such as aggression with other dogs, or their behaviour may change in an unfamiliar environment. We will take the time to work with the animal to understand whether the problem can be resolved with time, training and care. If the problems persist and we cannot be confident of rehoming them safely and responsibly, Battersea may take the sad but necessary decision to put the animal to sleep. We care deeply for all the animals we look after and such decisions are never taken lightly or in isolation. Our intake policy means that difficult decisions sometimes have to be made, but also ensures that every animal we take in gets a second chance.
A small amount of familiar bedding/blankets may help your pet settle in during their first few days at Battersea, but after that we would use our own equipment based on each animal’s individual needs. This includes leads, collars and harnesses. Anything brought with an animal that can’t be used by Battersea would be donated to other rescue centres.
Whilst most animals are quite happy within a kennel/cattery environment, others can find it a bit stressful. At Battersea we have an extensive enrichment programme which includes individual care plans, a variety of toys and games, calming music, aromatherapy, as well as regular cuddles and walks from our staff and volunteers. If your pet is showing signs of extreme stress, we would then look at placing them with a foster carer.
Battersea specialises in finding family homes for socialised pets. If your cat or dog is used to living outside and not within a home environment, we would recommend that you look for a more suitable rescue centre to meet their needs.
Battersea places no time limit on how long an animal can stay with us. So long as your pet continues to be medically and behaviourally suitable for rehoming, we will care for them for as long as it takes for the right owner to be found. In some cases this can take a matter of days but for others it may be many months before they find their perfect new home. If an animal is found to have medical problems or behavioural issues, their journey through the Home may take longer.
Battersea is a rehoming charity, therefore we cannot offer a boarding service and are not able to take in pets on a temporary basis. If you feel that you are no longer in a position to care for your pet and would like to give it up to the Home before your death, please contact us and we will be happy to help.
Our rehoming teams work very hard to match our animals with their perfect new homes. All our animals are assessed by a member of staff, who would also be able to refer to the information given by yourself, to carefully determine what sort of family, lifestyle and home environment would suit them best. With this information, they would then look for possible matches on our list of registered rehomers. They may also add your pet’s photo and details to our website. When a match has been found, your pet’s potential new family would be invited to Battersea to meet them. If all goes well, and after a final chat with our rehoming team, your pet would be on their way to their new home.
Whilst your pet is at Battersea your family can ask for updates on their progress, however Data Protection laws would prohibit us from sharing details of their new owners.
It may be that your family decide that they themselves are able to provide care for your pet, or to take it to an alternative rescue centre. If you want to ensure that your pet comes to Battersea, and nowhere else, we strongly advise you include this in your Will and make a plan for how your pet will be brought to Battersea. We suggest the following wording:
If you live overseas and would like your pet to come to Battersea, we ask that you get in touch with us to discuss it further.
The Forever Loved card is free of charge. However, many of our supporters who sign up to the scheme have chosen to leave a gift in their Will to Battersea as a thank you for promising to take care of their treasured pet. Whilst this is not a necessity, a gift to the Home, whatever amount, will help ensure that we can continue to be here to care for every dog or cat who needs our help, for many years to come.
If you have any other questions, please contact the Special Gifts team:
Telephone: 020 7627 9300